summer adventures memory collage

9x12in acrylic on paper, a week in Utah

9x12in acrylic on paper, a week in Utah

Anybody else collects things from vacations? stubs, pamphlets, maps, or anything pretty?

I have been collecting them for a while, thinking of the many projects I was going to do, but letting the memories collect dust. This time I had a good excuse to do something. A collage seemed the perfect fit, since I wanted to sum up our vacation in one picture. My first attempt was too literal and had no plan. That collage ended up busy and overwhelming, but I share it anyways as a learning experience.

The background shape is a loose shape of the State of Utah where we met some friends at Aspen Grove Family camp. The surrounded nature is astonishing with lots of mountains, an aspen grove, and many colored columbines. We did so much, enjoyed almost every sport, soaked in some good sunshine and friendships. It was great to have the activities, food, schedules all taken care of for us and just be there to enjoy. And that we did!

At first I put a target on the location of the map where the camp is. Then it became a flower, much more friendly for the mom and kid figures to walk to. The boys in the bottom, a pair of good friends that enjoyed cereal with every meal that week. I liked the idea of the path padded with lots of memories with the icons on the second frame, but it got too busy. Oh yeah and the amazing moon turned into a disco ball to remember the dance on the last day and how much fun it was. Plus there are the aspen trees, the mountains, the climbing wall, the synchronized swimmers, the racket, and pottery, and many different balls scattered through.

But I wasn’t happy with the overall result. There were parts that I really enjoyed, so I had to try it again. This was the process of the second take

I simplified the memories by putting them into words to contrast the abstract and colorful background of the colors we saw through the week. There was a full moon that week and it must have been a super-moon because it looked giant and I wanted to remember that. The columbines were a must, a big aspen leave as we were surrounded by those trees, and layers upon layers of mountains.

In making this piece there was lots to remember. The colors, words and shapes is what helps me remember what it was like to be there.

I was happy with the second attempt.

What I learned?

  • my planned compositions make more sense.

  • contrast is a great tool paired with a limited color palette.

  • a rich composition is not necessarily packed, and a packed composition is not necessarily rich.

  • there are many ways to represent the same things.

What have you learned in the last little while?